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Celebrate the courage of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg at San Francisco's best bookstore
261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

The bumper sticker says it all: "HOWL if you ♥ City Lights!" City Lights opened as a bookstore in 1953 and was publishing books by 1955. In 1956, they published Allen Ginsberg's Howl & Other Poems (you know, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked"). The store manager was immediately arrested for selling an obscene book and the publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, turned himself in shortly thereafter. In a landmark triumph for the First Amendment, Ferlinghetti was acquitted. Today, you'll want to visit City Lights not only to commune with the Beat history of San Francisco, but also to remind yourself what a real bookstore is all about. For example, there are places to sit. There are books of all descriptions, including rare first editions. Among the remarkable inventory is an assortment of (as the City Lights website calls them) "self-published zines, chapbooks, pamphlets, and broadsides." I'm saving up to buy myself some broadsides. And I don't know about you, but I love a bookstore where the shelf headings include "Class War." Best of all, they are open till midnight every night - insomniacs ♥ City Lights extra much! Go on - make yourself comfortable, smarter, and better at City Lights.

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